Image of the It's Your Story Competition Logo. The background is white and features blue silhouettes of a girl, a bird, a butterfly and stars walking on an undulated surface. Below them the logo reads It's your story competition. Below them are logos for Through Scarlett's Eyes and Access2books.

It’s Your Story Competition

About Wiritng, bookmaking, Braille, Children's Books, Competitions, Education and Training, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

A few weeks ago we wrote telling you about the It’s Your Story Competition on our Facebook Page. Now, all the details have been finalised. Check them out on the link above.

It is time for you budding creative writers who are readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website to whip out your pens and tap away on your keyboards and let your imaginations run wild. Do what you do best – tell stories.

Write an accessible children’s picture storybook.

Parents and guardians you are welcome to help your child or children to write their story. As long as the story is:

  1. funny
  2. up to about 400 words
  3. includes your child in the story
  4. supply a front cover design: it should illustrate the main characters and the story line.

That’s simple, right? Then get writing!

There are three main categories. These are:

  1. 0 – 6 years
  2. 7- 12 years and
  3. 12 – 17 years.

Each category has prizes donated by either VICTA or John Lewis [Milton Keynes] and Access2books. You can  check out the specifics on the It’s Your Story Competition page.

An overall winner will be selected from the three pools and they will receive a copy of their story book published by Access2books.

The book will be in dual format; i.e., in giant print, and Braille with accessible illustrations.

A copy of the book will be sent over to the British Library in London as per custom. Everyone will be able to access their publication.

Four judges will be doing the judging. They are:

  1. Sue Hendra: an award winning children’s author and illustrator of books like Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell, Supertato, and many others.

    Image of Sue Hendra at the Imagine Children's Festival. She is pictured holding up a copy of Norman the Silly Shell With the Silly Shell in giant print and Braille.

    Sue Hendra, author and illustrator of books like Supertato, pictured at the Imagine Children’s Festival earlier this year. She is holding up a copy of one of her books Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell which she saw for the first time in Giant Print and Braille.

  2. Charlotte Mellor: an employee of VICTA and a representative of Through Scarlett’s Eyes.
  3. Tim O’Sullivan: the BAFTA Award winning Creative Director at Karrot animation will be on the panel. He is Series Director and Script Editor of CBeebies Sarah and Duck.
  4. Eileen Finch: she is a cofounder of Access2books and also a Director. She has published over 60 plus book titles in accessible format. 
    Picture of Eileen Finch, Sue Hendra and Mike O'Sullivan chatting at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre with the London skyline behind them.

    Sue Hendra chatting to Eileen Finch and Mike O’Sullivan [founders of Access2books] at thye Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

 The competition is now open to readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website. It will be closing on the 8th of January 2016.
The winners will be announced on the 31st of January 2016.
Check out the It’s Your Story Competition link for more details and how you can send in your entries. Good luck writers!
Image of a book cover showing a white cat sitting in a box. Only the head and the tail are visible. The box has the text my cat likes to hide in boxes written on its side. Underneath the the box is green rectangle which reads Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd. There is another blue rectangle below it with the words Giant Print and Braille written in white.

My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes

Children's Books, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

Access2books are publishing the first giant print and Braille version of the classic children’s book My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes written by Eve Sutton and illustrated by Lynley Dodd.

The book was published by Puffin Books – a part of the Penguin Group.

The accessible version of the book, published by Access2books in giant print [75 point] and Braille plus specially adapted pictures, is complete.

It will be ready to be ordered within the next week or two. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.

Alternatively, you can check our homepage and the online catalog.

My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is going to be one of the first releases for the autumn period.

All the pictures have been modified to make them more accessible to visually impaired people.

It is now waiting to be quality checked and a Braille check done to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

The book was first published in 1974. It is a popular book in New Zealand and it has also found a way into the hearts of people in Canada and the UK.

The author and illustrator are cousins who are both from New Zealand. However, Sutton was originally born in England and moved to New Zealand as an adult.

This book was their one and only collaboration. They subsequently went on to carve solo careers as successful writers.

The image below is an example of the inner pages of the accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes.

The texh which is 75 point print is covered by plenty of white space to make it accessible and easy to see. The pictures have a page dedicated to them.

The Braille of the text and picture descriptions appear in the footer of both pages. Therefore, the book can be enjoyed by many people.

Image of the inner pages of My Cat Likes to hide in Boxes. The text in the centre of the left hand page reads,

According to Dodd [New Zealand’s best known author and author of the Hairy Maclary series], My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is based on a true story.

It is the story of the Dodd’s family cat that used to love hiding in boxes, cupboards, supermarket bags and the likes.

The book is catchy. It uses poetic devices. It uses rhyming couplets and run on lines to describe cats from different countries. For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The rhyming couplets build up as the narrative develops and describes cats from another country. With each subsequent description, the recurring refrain, “But MY cat likes to hide in boxes” is repeated at the end of each.

For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The cat from Spain

Flew in an aeroplane.

But MY cat likes to hide in boxes

The sentences are very simple which makes them easy to recite and remember. The musicality of the rhyming couplets aid in making the story memorable.

It is in essence a fun rhyming story. This makes it a great read for children who are learning to read.

Who doesn’t like a story about cats doing exotic and strange things? This is a story that is great for sharing between children and elder family members.

It is no surprise it first won a prize in 1975. Its longevity illustrates its staying power and how it continues to be be influential through different generations.

Children will love to take part in this fun rhyming story which can be set to music because of its musicality.

Place your order for Access2books’ accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes and put a smile on someone’s face.

Image of the front cover of the book, Supertato, written by Sue Hendra featuring a potato with a mask over his eyes and a brown belt around his waist with the letter S and a red cape.

Access2books publishing Sue Hendra’s Supertato

Children's Books, Publishing

Spring was kind to Access2books this year. Shortly before the Easter Break, Access2books announced HarperCollins Publishers  granted them permission to publish Lost and Found and Up and Down written and illustrated by the award winning talent that is Oliver Jeffers. Now, Simon and Schuster Publishers UK have granted Access2books permission to publish a giant print [75 point] and Braille, accessible version of Supertato written and illustrated by the brilliant Sue Hendra.

From left to right, Sue Hendra, the author of Supertato and Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell, chatting to the founders of Access2Books Eileen Finch in the centre and Mike O'Sullivan on the right.

From left to right, Sue Hendra, the author of Supertato and Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell, chatting to the founders of Access2Books – Eileen Finch, in the centre, and Mike O’Sullivan on the right.

Publishing a children’s book – Supertato

Access2books is proud to reproduce an accessible version of Supertato. It will be the second book from Sue Hendra’s impressive list of books that they are producing as an alternative format [accessible book].

They have already produced a giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell as illustrated in the picture below with Hendra holding a copy of the book at the Imagine Festival held at the Southbank Centre in London.

Author of Norman the Slug With His Silly Shell. holding up an alternative format of the book in Giant Print and Braille, at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Author of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell, holding up an alternative format of the book in Giant Print and Braille, at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Publishing Children’s Books

Access2books specialise in publishing children’s books and getting the opportunity to publish books like Supertato and Norman The Slug With The Silly Shell is a fabulous opportunity to add to their growing list of impressive titles. 

All of the alternative format children’s books published by Access2books’are individually handmade in-house with tender loving care. That means they can be adapted to suit an order depending on the requirements of the customer.

For example, if you wanted the books with 48 point print without Braille, that can be done.

Picture of Sue Hendra stepping up onto the podium to deliver her reading of  Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Sue Hendra gearing up to entertain and blow away the audience with her reading of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell.

Publishing Stunning Children’s Books

This is what makes the books so special. And that is not all. They are stunning and they put a smile on the faces of those that see them for the first time because they stand out and grab your attention.

Not even Sue Hendra was immune to the surprise when she first stumbled upon Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell in giant print and Braille. The look of surprise on her face in the picture below says it all.

The look on Sue Hendra's face says it all when she stumbled upon the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell.

The look on Sue Hendra’s face says it all when she stumbled upon the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell. Forgive our cameraman for almost chopping her head off and the picture may not win the competition for great composition but it does capture the element of surprise that the books produced by Access2books elicit.

That look above speaks volumes. Forgive our cameraman for the shoddy camerawork. However, for all its faults, the photo captures a special moment in time and the impact the books have on individuals. 

Sue’s feedback provides more insight into what makes Access2books’ alternative formats so special.

“The Access2books team showed me popular picture books in Giant print and Braille versions. Enlarging text and adding Braille wasn’t all that was different about these books,” she said.

“It struck me that enlarging parts of the illustrations is a clever way to help tell the story for someone with a sight impairment.”

Sue Hendra with her daughter at the Imagine festival reading the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell atThe Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London

Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, captivated by the alternative format of Norman the Silly Slug With The Silly Shell for the first time at the Access2books’ stand

Sue Hendra – A Big Name In The Publishing Business

Sue Hendra graduated from the University of Brighton in 1994. She went on to work in the publishing industry as an illustrator of children’s books. Her skills were honed at Macmillan, Oxford University Press and Walker Books where she worked on about 70 children’s titles or more.

She is no longer working for the publishing companies: she is now a fully fledged author and illustrator of children’s books.

One of her first books, Counting in the Sea 1, 2 3! set the foundation for her publishing career.

She first made waves after the publication of Barry the Fish with Fingers in 2009. Since then, it has sold over 100 000 copies and established her not only as a popular children’s author and illustrator, but a bonafide star with her own legion of little fans.

Picture of Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, surrounded by Sue's little fans waiting to get her autograph and help putting faces on Norman the Slug.

Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, are the centre of attraction, posing for pictures and signing copies of the books as well as illustrating how to make Norman the Slug and put faces on him.

The wacky array of characters that litter her beautifully illustrated books proved to be a great formula for success.

The arrival of Norman the Slug With Silly Shell in 2011 reinforced her star quality. The latter book went on to become the bestselling new picture book for the first quarter of 2011.

Sue Hendra reading Norman The Sulg With The SIlly Shell at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Sue Hendra reading Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell to her small and big fans at the Southbank Centre in London.

She has written for various publishers like Hodder, Random House and Simon and Schuster, plus illustrated for Harper Collins, Random House US and Scholastic.

Her style is distinctive. It is fun. It is quirky. Silly and innovative plus engaging. It has a surreal and believability quality to it which children love.

Picture of Eileen Finch, Sue Hendra and Mike O'Sullivan chatting at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre with the London skyline behind them.

Sue Hendra [left] chatting to Eileen Finch [centre] and Mike O’Sullivan [founders of Access2books] at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

To date, she has written and illustrated plus or minus 17 children’s books and it seems like she is not slowing down any time soon. That is great news for her legion of little fans and the likes of Access2books.

Eileen Finch, team leader at Access2books Publishers, believes publishing Supertato is an opportunity to continue in their tradition of making the most popular children’s books accessible to children and people who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

Sue Hendra also reinforces this view.

“Making picture books accessible to all adults and children can only ever be a good thing. I am fully in support of, and excited by, the work that Access2books are doing.”

Sue Hendra in action on stage reading  Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell

Sue Hendra caught in full flow delivering a reading of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell not to be forgotten.

Keep your eyes glued to this space for updates on the progress of the book. We can’t wait to begin working on it and seeing the final book becoming a giant print and Braille version of the original Supertato. Check out more of Sue Hendra’s other books here.

Access2books’ first newsletter, The Forge, finally published

About Wiritng, Publishing

Phoebe reading to Ryan using their nan's accessible books.

We are happy to launch the first edition of our quarterly newsletter, The Forge. It is finally published and out now.

We have spent the last few months working on it and it is a relief and a pleasure to finally send it out and let it have a life of its own.

You can click on the following link to read it The Forge Newsletter 1st. Edition.

What kind of articles can you look forward to?

We have a variety of articles talking about what we do, recently produced work and an article about how the Access2books project came about.

It is an inspirational story about how Eileen Finch, the team leader of the project, started losing her sight because she had Stargardt’s and she wanted to read to her grandchildren.

However, she couldn’t find books that she could read and so she started off this project to make children’s books that combined giant print [75 point], Braille and specially adapted pictures to cater for people who happened to be blind or have a visual impairment because there wasn’t anything like it on the market.

She also wanted the books to be as beautiful as other popular children’s fiction books. In a nutshell, that is how it came to be.

You can read more about it in The Forge plus an article from Eileen’s column talking about her experiences as a person who happens to be blind.

There is a variety of articles including short articles written by Alex Strick, author of Max the Champion, and Sue Hendra, the author and illustrator of books such as Norman the Slug and his Silly Shell.

Shot of Sue Hendra, author of Norman the Silly Slug With His Silly Shell, standing at the podium and holding up a worried Norman in her hand while reading the book at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank centre in London.

Author and illustrator of children’s books, Sue Hendra, holds up a worried looking Norman, as she reads from her book Norman the Slug With His Silly Shell at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Festival in London in February 2015.

Both these busy ladies are working with Access2books to help promote the project and offer guidance and support plus collaborating on projects.

In the next edition, we will have full interviews with the authors and much more. It is an exciting venture and we hope that you will enjoy it.

We look forward to your critical feedback because it will help us improve the quality and content of our newsletter.

It has been a learning curve for us and we anticipate that we will continue to learn and expand our publishing expertise in various mediums.

Thank you for been a part of our journey. By the way, have a lovely Easter.